tv Debate Night in America CNN October 23, 2012 2:30am-4:30am EDT
the third and final presidential debate of 2012 is now over and our exclusive poll shows president obama won to former governor mitt romney. he scored important points with voters. 48% of debate watchers we surveyed said president obama won compared to 40% who said romney won. 59% said president obama did 59% said president obama did better than expected. 15% said he did worse.
23% said he did about the same as expected. as for governor romney, 44% said he did better and 26% said worse. 26% said he did about the same as expected. these debates, all three of the presidential debates will play a role in what happens on november 6th, so will ad spending the next few weeks. ad spending, there is a lot of money to be spent the next two weeks. >> a lot of money, but with the days running out, the candidates have to make tough decisions. the first you will see, this one is confusing when you look at it. let me bring up the ad spending. let me look at tv ads, it's confusing. let's pull up the state of florida. the dark blue is obama and dark red is romney. the super pacs. look at the orlando market in florida.
about half of the ad spending, just shy is done by the obama campaign, money out of president obama's campaign fund. romney has a smaller slice because he's getting help from super pacs. florida has been trending romney's way. the obama campaign has to make. do we keep spending as much as $5 million a week just to hold our own? that's coming out of the campaign. or do they decide to reduce spending in florida and not give it up completely? both not accepting public financing. we are in a new world of freer spending. do they want to decide we need to build a fire wall here on ohio. the same thing is happening. half of the ad spending by the obama campaign and a smaller slice by romney and getting help from the republican super pacs and the president getting less help from the democrats super pacs. the president is going to have to make decisions.
in a state of colorado, you are spending about half from the obama campaign fund and less help from the super pacs. you look at this map and decide what we get for the money. are we moving the polls or holding our own. if you are holding your own, cut back there and move it up here into the midwest where this race is going to be decided. i want to switch the map before i go into the discussion. here's the state of play. does the president spend so much from his campaign down here? if you believe that is trending in that direction, two weeks ago you do that to keep it in play. now you are looking at the race to 270, you have to make decisions. assume the president may cut back here. he may cut back here. not pull out, but cut back. they trend red and the question is where do you pick to try the line? we know the campaign used this as ground in the election. we have this as a source of strength where they are ahead of these two battle ground states. these are the two strongest
right now. ohio right behind and romney doing well in the west. the question is you have only so many days left. where do you drop the plains. where does governor romney and ryan go. just as important or more important, campaigns have to make decisions and the obama campaign recently borrowed $15 million. money is not scarce. these guys have raised a boat load of money and not taking public financing and not subject to caps, but you are at a point where you have to make consequential decisions and every decision is make or break. we are talking to democrats and they will wait and see what happens in the 48 hours with the numbers. if the answer is no and florida and north carolina are moving his way, they think the smart thing to do is scale back and build a fire wall in the midwest. >> you have done commercials for candidates. how does it work logistically and how often are they polling
and how much communication is there between the ad people and the poll people to determine our ads? >> sometimes the ad people tell you way too much communication with the polling people. the ad guys and they do the math. it's a little bit about and they are polling around the clock. they are tracking every single night and dropping a night a few days ago and adding current days. they are focus grouping everything that goes out. >> every day they get new polls? >> all the time. you are betting the future of the leadership of the free world and they sound like we are spending a lot on this presidential election. we spent that much on halloween candy this year in the united states. >> how much of this do they pretest of what they will say in the debate. do they pretest a lot of lines these days? >> it depends on the nature of the campaign.
the closer you get to the candidate and who he is, the less you test. some of this stuff you can test the sincerity and the strength right out of it. i would be surprised if for example the romney campaign, i can speak with that with the obama campaign if they were testing lines tonight, they tested speech concepts and things like that. for a debate like this, you don't focus group. >> a decision not to go after benghazi for governor romney for weeks, is that something? >> that's a decision you would do without a poll. no poll will tell you how to lead the country. >> not to go on the attack is a decision. maybe that is in regards to women voters, for example, to talk about education and on the president's part is talking
about women voters. >> tonight it was to hug obama. why did he do that? a couple of reasons. you want to hug the opponent where you are weak and punch where you are strong. barack obama has been much like george bush in many aspects and it's where independents and republicans find him more acceptable. bob gates was george bush's secretary. >> he has stature. >> other interpretation. >> make yourself safe. paw. >> you don't have what you need for beliefs. >> i was trying to explain strategy. >> he has a point. the democrats and president obama have a legitimate argument and a guy who came into the debates is not the candidate we saw in the primaries. we go back to the etcha sketch. >> it may.
>> i got a score card. >> where republicans and president obama's administration have more agreement than on anything else like social issues. >> why all the attacks? >> my question is this is three debates and romney has systematically moved to the center and this one was startling. the surge in afghanistan worked. he is the peace candidate and wants to fund civil society. obama just thinks he can shoot his way against al qaeda. i am wondering is there anything in the republican base or are they determined to beat obama? i am wondering at what point do people say this is what we fear and this guy is a liberal moderate from massachusetts. >> weren't they previously attacking the administration for dropping mubarak too soon?
governor romney said it was the right thing to do. >> he said in syria before he said there should be a no drive zone, he said no troops on the ground. you go through with iran and he said there should be no bilateral talks and now there should be talks. you look at that and you can say well, that proves maybe that's a good thing. >> then i guess we can disqualify barack obama because he was against terror suspects before he was govern it and was going to close, but he didn't. most of the guys -- >> i'm getting some e-mails tonight from republicans who are disquieted a little bit from seeing mitt romney go to the middle. by the way, this is the primary process. you started on the wings on both sides. >> this is the romney they were worried about. is the real romney? is that the question?
>> this is why. mitt romney who is conservative and a business guy whose faith and family form his core. there is also a practical problem solving business man. most of us have two hands. >> we really don't know who barack obama is. >> four years, he has been consistent going after al qaeda. >> we will come back to the panel. candy? >> hey, anderson. still sitting here at this point. >> i think they are getting ready for a class. >> let's pay it forward or move it forward. what are you looking for? we come out here and say this is a wash and the polls are still basically 47-47. what are you looking for?
>> this is a lace from the beginning will focus on the economy and have the two big data reports. growth numbers are coming out this friday and the final friday before the election we get unemployment reports. those are the two external events that we are looking for. they can be washes or another sign of weakness in the economy, but if it happens to be growth, we don't know. then we have the battlefield. will it change? we are talking about the seven or eight or nine states. will pennsylvania come in or michigan come into play? those are the things that matter? >> some big gap in the final. i don't imagine they will have one in the last couple of weeks. if michigan and pennsylvania come into play? if they come into play, you won't miss out. i don't think that's going to happen. i see probably five or six state
tracking polls with people call me and i have national polls and i digest everything. i'm a political guy and on the phone all the time. i don't think we are going to see big changes, but what i found interesting tonight with the strategy is you meet a guy by agreement. i don't remember reagan beating carter by agreement. the whole agreement is you disagree. obama weakened america, but he agrees tonight by ten different times. i thought it was from the strategic point, i thought it was interesting and i agree with alex. there was push back and they will still vote for him. there will be push back on the right. you are not supposed to agree with this guy. he is a bad guy. >> isn't the governor's ace in the hole with conservatives who might think he was too agreeable tonight with president obama? >> the truth is it's his goal to
credential himself as commander in chief. he was able to do that in this debate. it's a reflection from the reality of how complicated foreign policy is. maybe mitt romney pointed them out, but they are not disagreements on everything. they were argue being nuances. >> it seems as though at least in mitt romney's view they acted good and i think people see that and take that. i think it's interesting and the reaction to this will be it certainly was somewhat of a different strategy and so much invested in benghazi. now the issues gone. all the president can say is you had a chance to ask me about it and you will be doing this on television. romney precluded himself from doing it by his lack of bringing it up when he was up there. i thought that was an interesting thing. >> he was not attacking the president on foreign policy and
it was at the water's edge. you should be happy. >> i am, but he attacked the president pretty good on foreign policy. >> the polls show that the people thought the president attacked 68% and 21% romney. i want to see what the difference that will have on women. women traditionally don't like to see attack, attack. we will see if that changes the numbers. that's mitt romney's weakness. >> i think there was one point, anderson, between them on who was the most likeable. that has been a sore spot for mitt romney. that's good. >> he attacked and i have no idea. of course obama attacked. absolutely. >> thanks. we are standing by with a reality check on getting tough for china and what it means for the economy. we will be able to see the debate again in its entirety. grab a beer and popcorn and
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china's economic club came up late in the debate. he would label the chinese as currency manipulators if he became president. joining us with the reality check. >> both men talked about china as an important trading partner, but suggested that china has stolen american jobs through unfair trade practices. listen. >> we are going to insist that china plays by the same rules as everybody else. >> in part by holding down artificially the value of their
currency it holds down the prices of their goods and means our goods are not as competitive and we lose jobs. that's got to end. >> the promise from each man is pretty simple and direct. i will crack down on china. can they do that and do they have their facts right? listen to the numbers. that seems to be correct. in fact we lost about 2 million jobs to china. most have been manufacturing jobs. let's put together this map that shows you where they have been lost. all of the darker orange is where they lost the most like texas, oregon and california. over the past dozen years, they lost about 3% of their jobs to chinese competition. the candidates say this is largely because while we base our value of the dollar on the free market and that determines labor costs, the chinese are currency manipulators. that's the accusations. the idea is that they take their currency and they manipulate it
so that it keeps it low so labor stays inexpensive and more people won't work there. can't have a to one comparison. u.s. productivity is much higher than chinese productivity. none the less, as close as we can get, we will try this. if you went to a factory and you want that people to create a product and the manufacturing environment, once you pay all the wages and all the benefits, that will come out to about $34 an hour. if you did the same thing in a chinese company, that's going to be more like $2 an hour. so the chinese government has structured their infrastructure and everything around this idea of saying let's take advantage of all of this labor out there and try to get more companies to move here and put a lot of products on the market or around the world that are inexpensive and can outcompete other products. boy, has it worked. take a look at this graph about
what's happened since 1985. this is where we were in 1985 in terms of how much we were importing to this country from china. how much was sending us here to buy. look what happened. it has gone up and up and up. that's the recession. that notch right there. it hit a peak. it dropped some now, but it is way up from where it used to be. look at the changes in what we sent to them. we were about equal in 1985 and we have not risen nearly as much in terms of the products we send to china. what can the president do about this? you put a trade barrier in place and it will be a pose, but if you do that, china can do the same and that hurts manufacturers. can you say that companies will be blocked from going-over to use the cheap labor and keep the jobs here, but that makes them less competitive on the world market. there is an issue of china
buying so much debt. if china said it didn't want to do that, that can make it harder for the government to borrow money for operating. the bottom line is, when you listen to these men say they will really crack down on china, you can take them at their word. the president has taken steps to do that and mitt romney said he will take steps. this is true, but what impact will it have? china has been a tough competitor and looks like they will continue to be. even if they mean what they say, that will not be the last word on u.s.-china trade. >> almost all apple products are manufactured in china whether ipods or ipads or iphone. humans of thousands of chinese are manufacturing those products sold in the united states and around the world. one footnote to an earlier reality check segment you may recall that president obama said tonight that the u.s. intervention in libya cost less than two weeks of the war in iraq. it turns out the president was right.
when we checked the math, we found two weeks of the war in iraq costs about $5 billion at its height and the libya intervention was less than $1 billion. mostly cruise missiles launched. anderson? >> it was interesting to hear both talking tough about china tonight. the question is what can they do? >> it's interesting to get a sense of the chinese reaction. i talked to a bunch of chinese people with various levels. they had always thought they were going to like romney. three things they like. american business and american business in general over the last 30 or 40 years, the chinese thought republicans were the party of business and trade and he organized the olympics and the chinese think they went through the olympics. it has been a rude surprise to them that romney has been so tough.
even in this debate, you notice obama kept saying they could be a partner and we want to cooperate with them, but romney hammered away for the most part. this was the place where he softened his stone the least in most of the other areas. he was almost a complete reversal. on china, he was softer and still pretty tough. i imagine they are coming to the conclusion that whatever america may want, they want continuity and not change. >> the debate is generating tons of buzz and words mentioned the most, stand by for a replay of the debate in its entirety in about six minutes. most, [ woman ] it's 32 minutes to go time, and the candidate's speech is in pieces all over the district.
the writer's desktop and the coordinator's phone are working on a joke with local color. the secure cloud just received a revised intro from the strategist's tablet. and while i make my way into the venue, the candidate will be rehearsing off of his phone. [ candidate ] and thanks to every young face i see out there. [ woman ] his phone is one of his biggest supporters. [ female announcer ] with cisco at the center... working together has never worked so well.
. before tonight's before tonight's debate, who would have guessed that the words bayonets and whopper would make the biggest splash on facebook. they had an enormous spike after president obama gave this response to mitt romney's complaint that the u.s. navy has too few ships. >> i think governor romney may be as you spend enough time looking at how the military works. you mentioned the navy, for example. we have fewer ships than in 1916. governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets. the nature of the military has changed. we have aircraft carriers where planes land on them. >> the other term is whopper, burger king will be happy about this. president obama used it to describe mitt romney's charge that he went on a world tour, apologizing to the united states. >> nothing governor romney said is true. starting with this notion of me apologizing.
this has been probably the biggest whopper that has been told in the course of this campaign. >> the mentions of the word whopper. >> barack obama made history turn in the debate. he tied george w. bush for the most appearances in presidential debate, six debates each. looking at the years have changed him, you see how he looked at his first debate. >> his hair was much darker. >> that was in 2008 and the last on the right. he is not the only one whose looks have changed. this is the tv anchorman from 2007 and 2012. >> i look the same except for the glasses. >> and wearing the same suit. pretty much. >> it's a nice suit. >> it works. >> women do not age. they get blonder. men get darker glasses. >> your hair was not as gray. >> a little more pepper in my hair. now it's just salt.
the toupee. >> two weeks from tomorrow, election day. we will be back. >> we will be. >> it's early tuesday morning right now and the election is two weeks away. >> more of the debate. >> good evening from the campus of lynn university in boca raton, florida. this is the fourth and last debate of the 2012 campaign brought to you by the presidential debates. this one is on foreign policy. i'm bob schaffer. the questions are mine and i have not shared them with the candidates or their aides. the audience has taken a vow of silence. no applause and no reaction of any kind except right now when we welcome president barack obama and governor mitt romney. [ applause ]
[ applause ] >> gentlemen, your campaigns have agreed to certain rules and they are simple. they asked me to divide the evening into segments. i will pose a question at the beginning of each segment you will each have two minutes to respond and then we will have a general discussion until we move to the next segment. tonight's debate as both of you know comes on the 50th anniversary of the night that president kennedy told the world that the soviet union installed nuclear missiles in cuba. perhaps the closest we have ever come to nuclear war.
it is a sobering reminder that every president faces at some point an unexpected threat to our national security from abroad. let's begin. the first segment is the challenge of a changing middle east and the new face of terrorism. i'm going to put this into two segments so you will have two topic questions within this one segment on the subject. the first question, and it concerns libya, the controversy over what happened continues for americans who are dead including an ambassador. questions remain what happened, what caused it, it was spontaneous or was it intelligence failure or a policy failure. was there an attempt to mislead people about what happened. governor romney, you said it was an example of an american policy in the middle east that is unraveling before our very eyes.
i would like to hear each of you give your thoughts on that, governor romney, you won the toss and you go first. >> thank you, bob and thank you for agreeing to moderate this debate this evening and thank you to lynn university and mr. president, it was good to be with you again. we were at a humorous event. this is a great concern to the world and america in particular which was to see a complete change in the structure and the environment in the middle east with the arab spring came a great deal of hope that there would be a change towards moderation and an opportunity for greater participation on the part of women and public life and economic life in the mideast. instead we have seen in nation after nation a number of disturbing events. in syria, 30,000 civilians
having done killed by the military there and we see in libya an attack apparently by i think we know now by terrorists of some kind against our people there. four people dead. our hearts and minds go to them. mali has been taken over by al qaeda-type individuals. we have in egypt a muslim brotherhood president. we are seeing a reversal in the hopes and the greatest threat of all is iran four years closer to a nuclear weapon. we have to recognize we have to do as the president has done. i congratulate him on taking out osama bin laden and going after the leadership in al qaeda, but we can't kill our way out of this mess. we will have to put in place a comprehensive and robust strategy to help the world of islam and other parts of the world reject this radical violent extremism which is not on the run. it's not hiding.
this was a group involved in ten or 12 countries and it presents an enormous threat to our friends and the world and to america long-term. we must have a comprehensive strategy to reject this kind of extremism. >> mr. president. >> my first job as commander in chief is to keep the american people safe. that's what we have done over the last four years. we ended of war in iraq and focused on those who actually killed us on 9/11. as a consequence, al qaeda's core leadership has been decimated. in addition we are now able to transition out of afghanistan in a responsible way, making sure that afghans take responsibility for their own security. that allows us also to rebuild alliances and make friends around the world to combat future threats. with respect to libya as i indicated in the last debate,
when we received that phone call, i immediately made sure that number one, we did everything we could to secure those americans who were still in harm's way. number two, we would investigate what happened and number three, most importantly, we would go after those who killed americans and we would bring them to justice. that's what we are going to do. it's important to step back and think about what happened in libya. keep in mind that i and americans took leadership in organizing an international coalition that made sure we were able to without putting troops on the ground at the cost of less than what we spent in two weeks in iraq liberate a country that was under the yoke of dictatorship for 40 years. got rid of someone who killed americans and as a consequence, despite this tragedy, you had tens of thousands of libyans after the events of benghazi marching and saying america is our friend. we stand with them.
that represents the opportunity we have to take advantage of. governor romney, i'm glad that you agree that we have been successful in going after al qaeda, but i have to tell you that your strategy previously is that has been all over the map. it's not designed to keep americans safe or build on the opportunities that exist in the mideast. >> my strategy is straight forward which is to go after the bad guys and make sure we do our best to interrupt them and kill them and take them out of the picture. my strategy is broader than that. that's important, of course. but the key that we will have to pursue is a pathway to get the muslim world to reject extremism on its own. we don't want another iraq or afghanistan. that's not the right course for us. the right course is to go after the people who are leaders of these various anti-american groups and these jihadists, but
also help the muslim world? how do we do that? we look at how to help the world reject these terrorists. the answer they came up with was this. more development. we should keep our foreign aid and investment and that of our friends to make sure we push back and give them more economic development. number two, better education. number three, gender equality. number four, the rule of law. we have to help the nations create civil societies. what is happening as we watched this in the middle east, this rising tide of chaos occur, you see al qaeda rushing in and you see other jihadist groups rushing in and throughout many nations in the mideast, it's wonderful that libya is making progress despite this tragedy, but next door we have egypt, libya's 6 million population and egypt 80 million population. we want to see progress with
having mali taken over and with syria having assad killed and murder his own people, this is a region and iran on the path to a nuclear weapon. >> let's give the president a chance. >> governor romney, i'm glad you recognize that al qaeda is a threat. a few months ago when you asked what the biggest threat was that faces america, you said russia. not al qaeda. you said russia. they asked for their foreign policy back. the cold war has been over for 20 years. when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s. it's like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s. you say you are not interested in duplicating what happened in iraq, but just a few weeks ago you said we should have more troops in iraq.
the challenge we have, i know you haven't been in a position to execute foreign policy, but every time you overed an opinion, you have been wrong. you said we should have gone to iraq despite the fact that there were no weapons of mass destruction. you said that we should still have troops in iraq to this day. you indicated that we shouldn't be passing nuclear treaties with russia despite the fact that 71 senators, democrats and republicans voted for it. you said that first we should not have a timeline in afghanistan and then said we should. now i say maybe or it depends. that means not only were you wrong, but also confusing and sending mixed messages to troops and allies. what we need to do with respect to the mideast is strong steady leadership and not wrong and reckless leadership that is all over the map.
unfortunately that's the kind of opinions that you offered throughout this campaign. it is not a recipe for american strength or keeping america strong. >> i am give you a chance to respond. >> of course i don't concur with what the president said about my record and the things i said. they don't happen to be accurate. i can say this. we are talking about the middle east and how to help them reject the terrorism we are seeing and the rising tide of confusion. attacking me is not an agenda. it's not talking about how to deal with the challenges that exist in the mideast and take advantage of the opportunity there and stem the tide of this violence. i will respond to a couple of things you mentioned. first of all, russia i indicated is a geopolitical foe. excuse me. it's a geopolitical foe and i said iran is the greatest national security threat we face.
russia does continue to battle us in the un time and time again. i have clear eyes on that. i won't wear rose colored glasses when it comes to russia or putin and i will not give more flexibility after the election. he will get more backbone. number two, with regards to iraq, you and i agreed and believed there should have been a status in forces agreement. >> we didn't. what i would not have done is left 10,000 troops in iraq that would tie us down and that would certainly not help us. >> there was an effort on the part of the president to have a status of forces and i concurred and said we should have a number of troops that stayed on. i concurred with that. that was my posture as well. i thought it should have been 5,000 and more. the answer was we got no troops through whatsoever. >> this was a few weeks ago you indicated we should still have troops in iraq. >> i'm sorry. i indicated that you failed to put in place a status of forces
agreement at the end of the conflict. >> governor, here's one thing i have learned as commander in chief. you have to be clear. both to the allies and our enemies about where you stand and what you mean. you gave a speech a few weeks ago in which you said we should have troops in iran. -- iraq. that is not a recipe for making sure we are taking advantage of the opportunities and the challenges of the mideast. now it is absolutely true that we can not just beat these challenges militarily. what i have done throughout my presidency and will continue to do is make sure the countries are supporting our counter terrorism efforts. number two, make sure they are standing by our interests in israel security. it is a true friend and our greatest ally in the region. number three, we have to make sure we protect the religious minorities and women because the countries can't develop if half
of it develops. we have to develop the economic capabilities. number five, the other thing is recognize that we can't continue to do nation building in these regions. part of american leadership is doing nation building here at home. that will help us maintain the kind of american leadership we need.
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use promo code: be secure order now and get this document shredder, a $29 value free. [♪...] call or go online now. [♪...] >> let me interject the second topic question in this segment about the middle east and so on. that is you both mentioned and alluded to this. that is syria. the war in syria spilled over to lebanon. we have more than 100 people killed there this a bomb. there were demonstrations there. eight people dead. mr. president, it has been more than a year since you told assad he had to go and since then 30,000 syrians have died and 300,000 refugees and the war
goes on and still there, should we reassess our policy and see if we can find a better way to influence events there or is that even possible. you go first, sir. >> what we have done is organize the international community saying assad has to go. we mobilized sanctions against that government. we made sure that they are isolated. we provided humanitarian assistance and we are helping them organize and making sure we are mobilizing the moderate forces inside of syria. ultimately, syrians are going to have to determine their own future. everything we are doing, we are doing in consultation with partners in the region including israel that has a huge interest in seeing what happens. coordinating with turkey and other countries that had a great interest in this. what we are seeing taking place in syria is heart breaking.
that's why we are doing everything to make sure we help the opposition, but we have to recognize that for us to get more entangled in syria is a serious step. we have to do so making certain we know who we are helping and not putting arms in the hands of folk who is can turn them against us or allies in the region. i am confident that assad's days are numbered, but what we can't do is simply suggest that as governor romney at times suggested that giving heavy weapons, for example, to the syrian opposition is a simple proposition to lead us to be safer over the long-term. governor? >> let's talk about what's happening in syria and how important it is. 30,000 people being killed by their government is a humanitarian disaster. syria is an opportunity for us because they play an important role.
syria is iran's only ally in the arab world. it's their route to the sea. it's the route for them to arm hezbollah and lebanon that threatens the ally, israel. seeing syria remove assad is a high priority for us. number two, seeing the replacement government being responsible people is critical for us. we don't want military involvement there and get drawn into a military conflict. the right course for us is working through partners and with our own resources and identify responsible parties within syria and organize them and bring them together in a form of if not government, council that can take the lead and have the arms necessary to defend themselves. we need to make sure that they don't have arms that get into the wrong hands. those arms can be used to hurt us and coordinate with the allies and with israel.
the turks are all concerned about this and willing to work with us. we need an effective leadership effort in syria making sure that the insurgents are armed and the insurgents that become armed are people who will be the responsible parties. recognize and i believe that assad must go. i believe he will go, but i believe we want to make sure we have the relationships and a friendship with the people that take his place such that in the years to come, we see syria as a friend and a responsible party in the mideast. this is a critical opportunity for america. what i'm afraid of is as we watched, first the president said we will let the un deal with it and kofi annan said we will have a ceasefire. that didn't work. then to the russia and let's see if you can do something.
we should be playing the leadership role. not on the ground with the military. >> we organize the friends of syria. we are mobilizing humanitarian support and support for the opposition. we are making sure that those we help are those who will be friends of ours in the long-term and friends of allies in the region for the long-term. going back to libya, this is an example of how we make choices. when we went into libya, we were able to immediately stop the massacre there because of the unique circumstances and the coalition that we helped to organize, we had to make sure that gadhafi didn't stay there. to the governor's credit, you supported going into libya and the coalition we organize, but when it came time to making sure that gadhafi didn't stay in power, your suggestion was that this was mission model. imagine if we had pulled out at that point.
gadhafi had more american blood on his hands than any individual other than osama bin laden. we were going it make sure we finished the job. that's part of the reason why the libyans stand with us. we did so in a careful, thoughtful way, making certain that we knew who we were dealing with and the forces of moderation on the ground were ones we could work with and we have to take the same kind of steady thoughtful leadership when it comes to syria. that's what we are doing. >> governor, would you go beyond what the administration would do, for example, would you put in no-fly zones? >> i don't want to have our military involved in syria and i don't think there is a necessity to put them in at this stage. as i indicated, our objectives are to replace assad and have in place a new government which is friendly to us and a responsible government if possible.
i want to make sure they get armed and they have the arms necessary to defend themselves, but also to remove assad. i do not want to see military involvement on the part of our troops and this isn't going to be necessary. we have with our partners in the region, sufficient resources to support those groups. look, this has been going on for a year. this should have been a time for american leadership. we should have taken a leading role not militarily, but a leading role and organization to bring together the parties to find parties. as you hear from intelligence sources today, the insurgents of highly desperate and they haven't formed a unity group and a council. that needs to happen. we need to make sure they have the arms they need to carry out the very important which is getting rid of assad. >> i will be very quick. what you heard governor romney said is he doesn't have different ideas.
that's because we are doing exactly what we should be doing to try to promote a moderate syrian leadership and an effective transition so we get assad out. that's the leadership we have shown and will continue to show. if we want to improve our schools... ... what should we invest in? maybe new buildings? what about updated equipment? they can help, but recent research shows... ... nothing transforms schools like investing in advanced teacher education. let's build a strong foundation. let's invest in our teachers so they can inspire our students. let's solve this.
may i ask you, during the egyptian turmoil, there came a point where you said it was time for president mubarak to go, some thought perhaps we should have waited a while on that. do you have any regrets about that? >> no,i don't because i think that america has to stand with democracy. the notion that we would have tanks run over those young people who were in tahrir square is not the kind of american leadership that john f. kennedy talked about 50 years ago. what i also said that now that
you have a democratically elected government in egypt, they have to make sure they take responsibility for protecting religious minorities. we put significant pressure on them to make sure they are doing that and recognize the rights of women which is critical throughout the region. these countries can't develop and young women are not given the education they need. they have to abide by their treaty with israel. not only are their securities at stake if that unravels, but they have to make sure they are cooperating with us with counter terrorism and we will help them with respect to developing their own economy. ultimately what's going to make the egyptian revolution successful for the people of egypt and the world is if those young people who gathered there are seeing opportunities. the aspirations are similar to young people here. they want jobs and they want to be able to make sure their kids are going to a good school and
make sure they have a roof over their heads and they have the prospects of a better life in the future. one of the things we have been doing is organizing the conferences with these egyptians to give them a sense of how they can start rebuilding the economy in a way that is non-corrupt and transparent. what is also important to understand is for america to be successful in this region, things we will have to do here at home as well. one of the challenges over the last decade, we have done experiments in places like iraq and afghanistan and neglected developing our own economy and energy sectors and education system and it's very hard for us to project leadership around the world when we are not doing what we need to. >> governor romney, i want to hear your response to that. i would ask you would you have stuck with mubarak? >> no, i believe as the president indicated and said at
the time i support his action there. i wish we would have had a better vision of the future and looking back at the beginning of the president's term and further back we would have recognized there was a growing energy and passion for freedom in that part of the world and we would have worked more aggressively with our friends and other friends to have them make the transition towards a more representative form of government such it didn't explode in the way it did. i felt the same as the president did. the freedom voices and the streets of egypt where the people were speaking about principals and the president mubarak had done things which were unimaginable and the idea of him crushing his people was not something that we could possibly support. let me step back and talk about what i think our mission has to
be in the middle east and even more broadly. because our purpose is to make sure the world is peaceful. we want a peaceful planet. we want people to be able to enjoy their lives and know they're going to have a bright and prosperous future, not be at war. that's our purpose. mantel of leadership for promoting the principles of peace has fallen in america. for us to be able to promote those principles of peace requires us to be strong. and that begins with a strong economy here at home. unfortunately, the economy is not stronger. when the president of iraq -- excuse me, of iran, ahmadinejad, says that our debt makes us not a great country, that's a frightening thing. former chief -- joint chiefs of staff said that -- admiral mullen said that our debt is the biggest national security threat we face. we have weakened our economy. we need a strong economy. we need to have as well a strong military. our military is second to none in the world. blessed with terrific soldiers, extraordinary technology and intelligence. but the idea after trillion dollar in cuts to the budget of the military would change that. we need strong allies. our association and connection with our allies is essential to
america's strength. we're the great nation that has allies. 42 allies and friends around the world. finally we have to stand by our principles. if we're strong in each of those things, american influence will grow. but unfortunately, in nowhere in the world is america's influence greater today than it was four years ago. >> all right. >> that's because -- >> perfect, you're going to get a chance to respond to that because that's a perfect segue into our next segment, and that is what is america's role in the world. [ male announcer ] one in four americans can't sleep.
and that is the question. what do each of you see as our role in the world and i believe governor romney, it is your turn to go first. >> well, i absolutely believe that america has a responsibility and the privilege of helping defend freedom and promote the principles that make the world more peaceful. and those principles include human rights, human dignity, free enterprise, freedom of
expression, elections, because when there are elections, people tend to vote for peace. they don't vote for war. so we want to promote those principles around the world. we recognize that there are places of conflict in the world. we want to end those conflicts to the extent humanly possible. but in order to be able to fulfill our role in the world, america must be strong. america must lead. and for that to happen, we have to strengthen our economy here at home. you can't have 23 million people struggling to get a job. you can't have an economy that over the last three years keeps slowing down its growth rate. you can't have kids coming out of college, half of whom can't find a job today. or a job that's commensurate with their college degree. we have to get our economy going. and our military. we've got to strengthen our military long term. we don't know what the world is going to throw at us down the road. we make decisions today in the military that will confront challenges we can't imagine.
in the 2000 debates, there was no mention of terrorism, for instance. and a year later 9/11 happened. so we have to make decisions based upon uncertainty and that means a strong military. i will not cut our military budget. we have to also stand by our allies. i think the tension that existed between israel and the united states was very unfortunate. i think also pulling our missile defense program out of poland in the way we did was also unfortunate in terms of if you will, disrupting the relationship in some ways that existed between us. then of course, with regards to standing for our principles, when the students took to the streets in tehran and the people there protested, the green revolution occurred for. for the president to be silent i thought was an enormous mistake. we have to stand for our principles, stand for our allies, stand for a stronger military and stand for a stronger economy. >> mr. president. >> america remains the one indispensable nation. and the world needs a strong america and it is stronger now
than when i came into office. because we ended the war in iraq, we were able to refocus our attention on not only the terrorist threat but also beginning a transition process in afghanistan. it also allowed us to refocus on alliances and relationships that had been neglected for a decade. governor romney, our alliances have never been stronger. in asia, in europe, in africa, with israel where we have unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation, including dealing with the iranian threat. but what we also have been able to do is position ourselves so we can start rebuilding america. that's what my plan does. making sure that we're bringing manufacturing back to our shores so that we're creating jobs here as we've done with the auto industry. not rewarding companies that are shipping jobs overseas. making sure that we've got the best education system in the world. including retraining or workers
for the jobs of tomorrow. doing everything we can to control our own energy. we've cut our oil imports to the lowest level in two decades. because we've developed oil and natural gas but we also have to develop clean energy technologies that will allow us to cut our exports in half by 2020. that's the kind of leadership that we need to show. and we've got to make sure that we reduce our deficit. unfortunately, governor romney's plan doesn't do it. we've got to do it in a responsible way by cutting out spending we don't need but also by asking the wealthiest to pay a little bit more. that way we can invest in research and technology that's always kept us on the cutting edge. now governor romney has taken a different approach throughout this campaign. now both at home and abroad, he has proposed wrong and reckless policies. he's praised george bush as a good economic steward and dick cheney as somebody who shows great wisdom and judgment, and taking us back to those kinds of
strategies that got us into this mess are not the way that we are going to maintain leadership in the 21st century. >> governor romney, wrong and reckless policies. >> i've got a policy for the future, an agenda for the future. when it comes to our economy here at home, i know what it takes to create 12 million new jobs and rising take-home pay. what we've seen over the last four years is something i don't want to see over the next four years. the president said by now we'd be at 5.4% unemployment. we're 9 million jobs short of that. i will get america working again and see rising take home pay again and i'll do it with five simple steps. number one, we are going to have north american energy independence. we're going to do it by taking full advantage of oil, coal, gas, nuclear and our renewables. number two, we're going to increase our trade. trade grows about 12% per year. doubles about every five or so years. we can do better than that, particularly in latin america. the opportunities for us in latin america, we have just not taken advantage of fully. matter of fact, latin america's
economy is almost as big as the economy of china. we're all focused on china. latin america is a huge opportunity for us. time zone, language opportunities. number three, we're going to have to have training programs that work for our workers. and schools that finally put the parents and the teachers and the kids first and the teachers unions going to have to go behind. then we have to get to a balanced budget. we can't expect entrepreneurs and businesses large and small to take their life savings or their company's money and invest in america if they think we're headed to the road to greece. that's where we're going right now unless we finally get off the spending and borrowing binge. i'll get us on track to a balanced budget. and finally, number five, we've got to champion small business. small business is where jobs come from. two-thirds of our jobs come from small businesses. new business formation is down to the lowest level in 30 years under this admission. i want to bring it back and get back good jobs and rising take-home pay.
>> well let's talk about what we need to compete. first of all, governor romney talks about small businesses. governor, when you were in massachusetts, small businesses development ranked about 48th, i think out of 50 states in massachusetts because the policies that you are promoting actually don't help small businesses and the way you define small businesses include folks at the very top. they include you and me. that's not the kind of small business promotion we need. but let's take an example that we know is going to make a difference in the 21st century and that's our education policy. we didn't have a lot of chance to talk about this in the last debate. under my leadership, what we've done is reformed education, working with governors, 46 states, we've seen progress and gains in schools that were having a terrible time. and they're starting to finally make progress. and what i now want to do is to hire more teachers especially in math and science. we know we've fallen behind when
it comes to math and science and those teachers can make a difference. governor romney, when you were asked by teachers whether or not this would help the economy grow, you said this isn't going to help the economy grow. when you were asked about reduced class sizes, you said class sizes don't make a difference. but i tell you, if you talk to teachers, they will tell you it does make a difference. and if we've got math teachers who are able to provide the kind of support that they need for our kid, that's what's going to determine whether or not the new businesses are created here. companies are going to locate here depending on whether we've got the most highly skilled workforce and the kinds of budget proposals that you've put forward, when we don't ask either you or me to pay a dime more in terms of reducing the deficit but instead we slash support for education, that's undermining our long term competitiveness. that is not good for america's position in the world. and the world notices. >> let me get back to foreign policy. i can just get back -- >> i need to speak a moment, bob, just about education. >> okay.
>> i'm so proud of the state that i had the chance to be governor of. we have every two years tests that look at how well our kids are doing. fourth-graders and eighth-graders are tested in english and math. while i was governor, our fourth-graders came out number one in all 50 states in english and also in math. fourth-graders, number one in english, and in math. first time the state had been number one in all four measures. how do we do that? republicans and democrats came together on a bipartisan basis to put in place education principles that focused on having great teachers in the classroom. that was what allowed us to become the number one state in the nation. >> but that was ten years before you took office. then you cut education spending when you came in to office. >> the first -- >> and we kept our schools number one in the nation. they're still number one today and the principles that we put in place. we also gave kids not just a graduation exam. to determine whether they were up to the skills needed to be able to compete but also if they graduated the top quarter of
>> i want to try to shift it because we have heard some of this in the other debates. governor, you say you want a bigger military, you want a bigger navy. you don't want to cut defense spending. what i want to ask you, we're talking about financial problems in this country. where are you going to get the money? >> well, let's come back and talk about the military but all the way through. first of all, i'm going through from the very beginning. we're going to cut 5% of the discretionary budget excluding military. >> can you do that without driving us deeper into debt? >> i'll be happy to have you take a look. come on our website. you can look to how we get to a balanced budget within eight to ten years by reducing spending in a whole series of programs. number one i'd get rid of is
obamacare. a number of things sound good but frankly, we can't afford them. that one doesn't sound good and it is not affordable. i get rid of that on day one. we take program after program that we don't absolutely have to have and we get rid of them. number two, we take some programs that we are going to keep like medicaid which is a program for the poor. take that health care program for the poor and we give it to the states to run because states run these programs more efficient efficiently. as a governor, i thought please, give me this program. i can run this more efficiently than the federal government and states are proving it. states like arizona, rhode island have taken these medicaid dollars, have shown they can run these programs more cost effectively. i want to do those two things. it gets to us a balanced budget within eight to ten years. but the military -- let's get back to the military though. >> that's what i'm trying to -- >> he should have answered the first question.
look. governor romney's called for $5 trillion of tax cuts that he says he'll pay for by closing deductions. now the math doesn't work but he continues to claim he's going to do it. he then wants to spend another $2 trillion on military spending that our military's not asking for. now keep in mind that our military spending has gone up every single year that i've been in office. we spend more on our military than the next ten countries combined. china, russia, france, united kingdom, you name it. next ten. and what i did was work with our joint chiefs of staff to think about what are we going to need in the future to make sure that we are safe. and that's the budget that we've put forward. but what you can't do is spend $2 trillion in additional military spending that the military's not asking for, $5 trillion on tax cuts, you say
that you're going to pay for it by closing loopholes and deductions without naming what those loopholes and deductions are, and then somehow you're also going to deal with the deficit that we've already got. the math simply doesn't work. but when it comes to our military, what we have to think about is not just budgets. we've got to think about capabilities. we need to be thinking about cyber security. we need to be thinking about space. that's exactly what our budget does but it's driven by strategy. it's not driven by politics. it's not driven by members of congress and what they would like to see. it's driven by what are we going to need to keep american people safe. that's exactly what our budget does. and it also then allows us to reduce our deficit, which is a significant national security concern. because we've got to make sure that our economy is strong at home so that we can project military power overseas. >> bob, i'm pleased that i've balanced budgets.
i was in the world of business for 25 years. you didn't balance your budget, you went out of business. i went to the olympics that was out of balance and we got it on balance and made a success there. i had the chance to be governor of a state four years in a row, democrats and republicans came together to balance the budget. we cut taxes 19 times. balanced our budget. the president hasn't balanced a budget yet. i expect to have the opportunity to do so myself. i'm going to be able to balance the budget. let's talk about military spending. that's this. >> 30 seconds. >> our navy is -- excuse me, our navy is smaller now than any time since 1917. the navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. we're now at under 285. we're headed down to the low 200s if we go through a sequestration. i want to make sure the navy has the ships that are required. we've changed for the first time since fdr -- since fdr we've always had the strategy of saying we could fight if two
conflicts at once. now we're changing to one conflict. this is my view is the highest responsibility of the president of the united states which is to maintain the safety of the american people. and i will not cut our military budget by a trillion dollars which is a combination of the budget cuts the president has as well as the sequestration cuts. that in my view is making our future less certain and less secure. >> bob, i just need to comment on this. first of all, the sequester is not something i've proposed. it is something congress has proposed. it will not happen. the budget we are talking about is not reducing our military spending. it is maintaining it. but i think governor romney may be hasn't spent enough time looking at how our military works. you mentioned the navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military's changed. we had these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. we have these ships that go
underwater, nuclear submarines. so the question is not a game of battleship where we're counting ships. it's what are our capabilities. so when i sit down with the secretary of the navy and the joint chiefs of staff, we determine how are we going to be best able to meet all of our defense needs in a way that also keeps faith with our troops, that also makes sure that our veterans have the kind of support that they need when they come home. and that is not reflected in the kind of budget that you're putting forward, because it just doesn't work. we visited the website quite a bit. and it still doesn't work. >> lot to cover. i'd like to move to the next segment. red lines, israel and iran. would either of you -- you'll have two minutes. and president obama, you have the first go at this one. would either of you be willing to declare that an attack on israel is an attack on the united states?
which of course is the same promise that we give to our close allies like japan. and if you made such a declaration, would not that deter iran? it certainly deterred the soviet union for a long, long time when we made that promise to our allies. mr. president? >> first of all, israel is a true friend. it is our greatest ally in the region. and if israel is attacked, america will stand with israel. i've made that clear throughout my presidency. >> so you're saying we've already made that declaration. >> i will stand with israel if they are attacked. this is the reason why working with israel, we have created the strongest military and intelligence cooperation between our two countries in history. in fact, this week we'll be carrying out the largest military exercise with israel in history, this very week. but, to the issue of iran, as
long as i'm president of the united states, iran will not get a nuclear weapon. i made that clear when i came into office. we then organized the strongest coalition and the strongest sanctions against iran in history. and it is crippling their economy. their currency has dropped 80%. their oil production has plunged to the lowest level since they were fighting a war with iraq 20 years ago. so their economy is in a shambles. the reason we did this is because a nuclear iran is a threat to our national security, and it is a threat to israel's national security. we can't afford to have a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world. iran is a state sponsor of terrorism and for them to be able to provide nuclear technology to non-state actors, that's unacceptable. and they have said they want to see israel wiped off the map. so the work that we've done with respect to sanctions now offers iran a choice.
they can take the diplomatic route and end their nuclear program, or they will have to face a united world, and a united states president, me, who said we're not going to take any options off the table. the disagreement i have with governor romney is that during the course of this campaign he's often talked as if we should take premature military action. i think that would be a mistake, because when i've sent young men and women into harm's way, i always understand that that is the last resort, not the first resort. >> two minutes. >> well, first of all, i want. to underscore the same point the president made which is that if i'm president of the united states, when i'm president of the united states, we will stand with israel. and if israel is attacked, we have their back. not just diplomatically, not just culturally, but military. that's number one. number two, with regards to iran and the threat of iran, there's no question but that a nuclear
capable iran is unacceptable to america. it presents a threat not only to our friends but ultimately a threat to us to have iran have nuclear weapons that could be used against us or threatening to us. it is also essential for us to understand what our mission is in iran. that is to dissuade iran from having a nuclear weapon through peaceful and diplomatic means. and crippling sanctions are something i called for five years ago. i laid out seven steps. crippling sanctions were number one. and they do work. are you seeing it right now in the economy. it is absolutely the right thing to do to have crippling sanctions. i'd have put them in place earlier but it is good that we have them. two, something i'd add today, i would tighten those sanctions. i would say ships that carry iranian oil can't come into our ports. i would imagine the eu would agree with us as well. not only ships couldn't, but companies who are moving their oil can't. people who are trading in their oil can't. i would tighten those sanctions further. secondly, i'd take on diplomatic isolation efforts.
i'd make sure that ahmadinejad is indicted under the genocide convention. i would indict him for it. i would also make sure their diplomats are treated like the pariah they are around the world, the same way we treated the apartheid diplomats of south africa. we need to increase pressure time and time again on iran because anything other than a solution to this which says -- which stops this nuclear folly of theirs is unacceptable to america. and of course, a military action is the last resort. it is something one would only consider if all of the other avenues have been tried to their full extent. ople save a lot of . but today...( sfx: loud noise of large metal object hitting the ground) things have been a little strange. (sfx: sound of piano smashing) roadrunner: meep meep. meep meep?
opportunity to re-enter the community of nations. and we would welcome that. there are people in iran who have the same aspirations as people all around the world for a better life. and we hope that their leadership takes the right decision. the deal we'll accept is to end their nuclear program. it's very straightforward. i'm glad governor romney agrees with the steps we're taking. there have been time, governor, frankly, during the course of this campaign where it sounded like you thought that you'd do the same things we did, but you'd say them louder. somehow that would make a difference. it turns out the work involved in setting up these crippling sanctions is painstaking. it's meticulous. we started from the day we got into office. and the reason it was so important, and this is a testament to how we've restored american credibility and strength around the world, we had to make sure all the countries participated. even countries like russia and china.
because if it's just us that are imposing sumpgz e ining sanctio a long time. it's because we got everyone to agree that iran is seeing so much pressure, we have to maintain that pressure. there is a deal to be had. they abide by the rules that have already been established. they convince the international community they are not pursuing a nuclear program. there are inspections that are very intrusive. but over time what they can do is regain credibility. in the meantime we're not going to let up on the pressure until we have the effort take place. and one last thing just to make this point. the clock is ticking. we're not going to allow iran to perpetually engage in negotiations that lead nowhere. i've been very clear to that. because of the intelligence coordination we do, with a range of countries including israel.
we have a sense of when they would get breakout capacity, which means we would not be able to intervene in time to stop their nuclear program. that clock is ticking. we're going to make sure if they do not meet the demands of the international community, then we are going to take all options necessary to make sure that they don't have nuclear power. >> governor? >> i think from the beginning, one of the challenges we've had with iran, is they have looked at the administration, and felt the administration was not as strong as it needed to be. i think they saw weakness where they expected to find american strength. the president in his campaign four years ago said he would meet with all the world's worst actors in his first year, with chavez, kim jong-il, with castro and president ahmadinejad of iran.
i think they looked and thought, that's an unusual honor to receive from the president of the united states, and then the president began what i called an apology tour, of going to various nations in the middle east and criticizing america. i think they looked at that and saw weakness. then when there were dissidents in the streets of tehran holding signs saying, is america with us, the president was silent. i think they noticed that as well. i think that when the president said he was going to create daylight between ourselves and israel, that they noticed that as well, all of these things suggested i think to the iranian mullas that, hey, we can keep on pushing along here. we can keep talks going on, we're going to keep spinning centrifuges. now there's some 10,000 centrifuges spinning uranium preparing to create a nuclear threat to the united states and to the world. that's unacceptable for us, and it's essential for a president to show strength from the beginning, to make it clear what is acceptable and not acceptable. an iranian nuclear program is not acceptable to us. they must not develop nuclear capability. the way to make sure they
understand that is by having the tightest sanctions possible. they need to be tightened. our diplomatic isolation needs to be tightened. we need to indict ahmadinejad, we need to put the pressure on them as hard as we can, because if we do that, we won't have to take the military action. >> nothing governor romney just said is true. starting with this notion of me apologizing. this has been probably the biggest whopper that's been cold during the course of this campaign. the governor has looked at every statement and said this is not true. when it comes to tightening sanctions, look, as i said before, we've put in the toughest, most crippling sanctions ever. and the fact is, while we were coordinating an international coalition to make sure these sanctions were effective, you were still invested in a chinese state oil company that was doing business with the iranian oil sector. so i'll let the american people decide, judge, who's going to be
more effective and more credible when it comes to imposing crippling sanctions, and with respect to our attitude about the iranian revolution, i was very clear about the murderous activities that had taken place, and that was contrary to international law and everything that civilized people stand for. and so the strength that we have shown in iran is shown by the fact that we've been able to mobilize the world. when i came into office, the world was divided. iran was resurgent. iran is at its weakest point economically, strategically, militarily since then in many years. we are going to continue to keep the pressure on to make sure they don't get a nuclear weapon. that will be the case so long as i am president. >> we're four years closer to a nuclear iran. we're four years closer to a nuclear iran, and we should not
have wasted these four years to the extent that they continue to be able to spin these centrifuges and get that much closer. that's number one. number two, mr. president, the reason i call it an apology tour, you flew to the middle east, turkey, iraq. and by the way, you skipped israel. our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nation, and by the way, they noticed that you skipped israel. and in those nations and on arabic tv, you said america had been dismissive and derisive, you said on occasion america had dictated to other nations. mr. president, america has not dictated to other nations. we have freed other nations from dictators. >> if we're going to talk about trips we've taken. when i was a candidate for office, the first trip i took was to visit our troops. and when i went to israel as a candidate, i didn't take donors,
i didn't attempt fund-raisers, i went to the holocaust museum there to remind myself the nature of evil, and why our bond with israel will be unbreakable. and then i went down to the border towns of staroke which had experienced missiles raining down from hamas, and i saw families who showed me where missiles had come down near their children's bedrooms, i was reminded what that would mean if those were my kids. which is why as president we funded an iron dome program to stop those missiles. so that's how i've used my travels, when i traveled to israel and when i travelled to the region, and the central question at this point is going to be, who's going to be credible to all parties involved? and they can look at my track record, whether it's iran's
sanctions, whether it's dealing with counterterrorism, whether it's supporting democracy, rights, supporting religious minorities and they can say the president of the united states and the united states of america stood on the right side of history. and that kind of credibility is precisely why we've been able to show leadership on a wide range of issues facing the world right now.
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that kind of -- >> you're saying -- >> that's -- >> okay -- >> let me -- let's go back to what the president was speaking about, which is what's happening in the world and the president's tamt that things are going so well. look, i look at things happening around the world and i see iran closer to the middle east i see violence, tumult, jihadists continuing to spread, hard to precisely measure, but clear they're there and very strong. i see syria with 30,000 civilians dead, assad still in power. i look around the world and i don't see that north korea continuing to export nuclear technology. russia not following lugar anymore. back away from nuclear
proliferation, a treaty we had with them. i look around the world and don't see our influence growing around the world. i see our influence receding because in part of deal wig our economic challenges at home. in part because of our withdrawal from the military and the way i think it ought to be in part because of the turmoil with israel. the president receive add letter from 38 democrat senators saying tensions with israel were a real problem. they asked him, please repair the tensions. democrat senators, please repair the damage in his own party. >> all right. governor, the problem is, that on a whole range of issues, whether it's the middle east, whether it's afghanistan, iraq, whether it's now iran, you've been all over the map. i mean, i'm pleased that you now are endorsing our policy of applying diplomatic pressure and potentially having bilateral
discussions with the iranians to end their nuclear program, but just a few years ago you said that's something you would never do. just the same way you opposed a timetable in afghanistan. now you're for it? it depends. in the same way you say you would have ended the war in iraq, but recently gave a speech saying we should have 20,000 more folks in there. the same way you said that it was mission creek to go after gadhafi. when it comes to going after osama bin ladin you said any president would make that call. but when were you a candidate in 2008, as i was, and i said if i got bin laden in our sights, i would take that shot. you said we shouldn't move heaven and earth for one man, we should ask pakistan permission. if we had asked pakistan for
permission, we would not have gotten it. we should move heaven aernlgdnd to get him. after we killed bin ladin i was at ground zero for a memorial and talked to a young woman who was four years old when 9/11 happened, and the last conversation she had with her father was him calling from the twin towers, saying peyton, i love you, and i will always watch over you. and for the next decade she was haunted by that conversation, she said to me, you know by finally getting bin ladin that brought some closure to me. and when we do things like that, when we bring those who have harmed us to justice, that sends a message to the world. and it tells peyton that we did not forget her father. i make that point because that's the kind of clarity of leadership, and those decisions are not always popular. those decisions generally are not poll tested. even some in my own party,
let's go -- and that leads us to the next segment, governor. america's longest war in pakistan. governor, you get to go first. >> you can't have the president just lay out a whole series of items without giving me a chance to -- >> with respect, sir, you had laid out quite a program. >> that's true. >> we'll agree on that. >> we'll catch up. >> the united states is scheduled to turn over responsibility for security in afghanistan to the afghan government in 2014. at that point we will withdraw our combat troops, leave a smaller force of americans, if i understand our policy, in afghanistan for training
purposes. it seems to me the key question here is, what do you do if the deadline arrives and it is obvious the afghans are unable to handle their security? do we still leave? and i believe governor romney, you go first. >> we're going to be finished by 2014, and when i'm president, we'll make sure we bring our troops out by 2014. the commanders and generals are on track to do so. we've seen progress over the past several years. the surge has been successful, and the training program is proceeding at pace. there are now a large number of afghan security forces, 350,000 that are ready to step in to provide security and we're going to be able to make that transition by the end of 2014, so our troops will come home at that point. i can tell you at the same time, that we will make sure that -- we look at what's happening in pakistan and recognize that
what's happening in pakistan is going to have a major impact on the success in afghanistan. i say that because i know a lot of people feel we should wash our hands and walk away. and i don't mean you, mr. president, but some in our nation are feeling that pakistan's being nice to us, and we should walk away. pakistan is important to the region, the world and us. pakistan has nuclear warheads and they're rushing to build a lot more. they'll have more than great britain sometime in the relatively near future. they also have the haqqani network and the taliban existent in their country. so a pakistan that falls apart would be of extraordinary danger to afghanistan and to us and so we're going to have to remain helpful and encouraging pakistan to move toward a more stable government and rebuild the relationship with us. and that means that our aid that we provide to pakistan is going to be conditioned upon certain benchmarks being met.
so for me i look at this as a need to help move pakistan in the right direction and, also, to get afghanistan to be ready, and they will be ready by the end of 2014. >> mr. president? >> when i came into office, we were still bogged down in iraq, and afghanistan had been drifting for a decade. we ended the war in iraq, refocused our attention on afghanistan, we delivered a surge of troops. that was facilitated in part because we had ended the war in iraq. and we are now in a position where we have met many of the objectives that got us there in the first place. part of what had happened is we'd forgotten why we had gone. we went because there were people who were responsible for 3,000 american deaths. we decimated al qaeda's poor leadership between afghanistan and pakistan. we then started to build up afghan forces, and we're now in
a position where we can transition out. because there's no reason why americans should die when afghans are perfectly capable of defending their own country. that transition has to take place in a responsible fashion. we've been there a long time, and we've got to make sure that we and our coalition partners are pulling out responsibly and giving the afghans what they need. what the american people recognize is after a decade of war, it's time to do some nation-building here at home. and we can now free up some resources to put americans back to work, especially our veterans, rebuilding our roads, bridges, schools. making sure that our veterans are getting the care that they need, when it comes to posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. making sure that the certifications that they need for good jobs of the future are
in place. i was having lunch with some -- a veteran in minnesota who had been a medic dealing with the most extreme circumstances when he came home and he wanted to become a nurse, he had to start from scratch. what we have said is, let's change those certifications. the first lady's done great work with an organization called joining forces, putting our veterans back to work. as a consequence, veteran's unemployment is now lower than the general population, it was higher when i came into office. those are the kinds of things we can now do because we're making that transition in afghanistan. >> all right. let me go to governor romney, because you talked about afghanistan and what needs to be done there. general allen our commander in afghanistan says that americans continue to die at the hands of groups who are supported by pakistan. we know that pakistan has arrested the doctor who helped
us catch osama bin laden. it still provides a safe haven for terrorists, yet we continue to give pakistan billions of dollars. is it time for us to divorce pakistan? >> no, it's not time to divorce a nation on earth that has 100 nuclear weapons and is on the way to double that at some point. a nation that has serious threats from terror groups within its nation. as i indicated, the taliban and haqqani. it's a nation that's not like others, it doesn't have a civilian leadership. you have the isi there, the organization that is probably the most powerful of the three branches. you have the military and the civilian government. this is a nation, which if it falls apart, if it becomes a failed state there are nuclear weapons there. have you terrorists there who can grab their hands out of those nuclear weapons.
this is an important part of the world for us. pakistan is technically an ally and they're not acting like an ally right now, and we have some work to do. i don't blame the administration for the fact that the relationship with pakistan is strained. we had to go into pakistan. we had to go in there to get osama bin laden. that was the right thing to do. that upset them, there was a great deal of anger before that. we're going to have to work with the people in pakistan to try to help them move to a more responsible course than the one they're on. it's important for them. it's important for the nuclear weapons, for the success of afghanistan. because inside pakistan you have a large group of pashtans that are afghanistans, and they're going come rushing back into afghanistan when we go. it's important for us to recognize that we can't just walk away from pakistan. but we do need to make sure that
as we send support for them, that this is tied to them making progress on matters that would lead them to becoming a civil society. >> let me ask you, governor, we know president obama's position on this one. what is your position on the use of drones? >> well, i believe we should use any and all means necessary to take out people who pose a threat to us and our friends around the world. it's widely reported that drones are being used in drone strikes. i support that entirely, and feel the president was right to up the usage of that technology and believe we should continue to use it, to continue to go after the people who represent a threat to this nation and our friends. let me also note that as i said earlier, we're going to have to do more than going after leaders and killing bad guys, as important as that is. we're also going to have a far more effective and comprehensive strategy to help move the world away from terror and islamic extremism.
we haven't done that yet. we talk a lot about these things. you look at the record of the last four years and say, is iran closer to a bomb? yes. is the middle east in tumult? yes. is al qaeda on the run, on its heels? no. are israel and the palestinians closer to reaching a peace agreement? no. they haven't had talked in two years. we have not seen the progress we need to have, and i'm convinced with strong leadership and an effort to build a strategy based upon helping these nations reject extremism, we can see the kind of peace and prosperity the world demands. >> keep in mind our strategy wasn't just going after bin ladin. we created partnerships to go and deal with extremism. in somalia, in yemen, in pakistan. and what we've also done is engage these governments in the kind of reforms that are going to make a difference in people's lives day to day, to make sure their governments aren't cor